COLLINGWOOD premiership ruckman Darren Jolly has vowed to play on after his axing from the Magpies.
Jolly was among six Magpies cut in a clean-out this week following the club’s elimination final loss to Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
The 31-year-old quickly made clear he was determined to continue his AFL career at another club.
Jolly’s manager Paul Connors told afl.com.au yesterday he believed the ruckman had plenty to offer and was in good shape.
“Contrary to popular belief his body is feeling great, he is up for the next challenge and he is keen to play on,” Connors said.
News of Jolly’s sacking was leaked on Monday night when he was delivered his marching orders in a 5pm meeting.
Jolly, who hails from Lexton, launched his AFL career with North Ballarat Roosters when he was rookied to Melbourne at the end of 2000.
A niggling knee injury has limited Jolly’s season to nine games – his last was in round 12.
He was rebuilding strong form in the Magpies’ Victorian Football League team.
It is understood Jolly wanted another year with the Magpies but was cut to make room for heir-apparent Brody Grundy, a talented first-year ruckman.
Experienced stars Alan Didak and Andrew Krakouer, former Carlton defender Jordan Russell and rookies Ben Richmond and Michael Hartley were also culled from the Magpies’ list this week.
North Ballarat Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald, who coached Jolly at Northern Oval, was certain Jolly’s experience would be keenly sought in AFL ranks – even if in a mature support
role like former Rooster Orren Stephenson has played at Geelong and now Richmond.
“He’s a good player and a good teammate – his premierships show that – and I’m sure he can still add to a team and help,” FitzGerald said. “We were delighted when he was drafted and estblished himself in AFL competition ... He’s done very, very well and we’re proud of what he’s achieved.”
Jolly started in North Ballarat Rebels’ under-18 program but, like most talls, proved a late developer.
A step up to the Roosters in 2000 allowed Jolly to learn from assistant coach and former Essendon ruck Peter Somerville, and work into the Roosters’ prime rucking role.
Jolly caught the attention of Melbourne where he played 48 games for the Demons, mostly as an understudy to Jeff White.
He was traded to Sydney in 2004, where he established himself as the Swans’ primary ruckman and played in the Swans’ 2005 premiership.
Collingwood became Jolly’s third club when he requested at the end of 2009 to return to his home state for family reasons. Jolly played a crucial role in the Magpies’ 2010 premiership and grand final follow-up a year later.
In a 12 year career, Jolly played AFL 237 matches, including 71 matches for Collingwood.